WSOC: Bidelspach scores twice in Colonels 3-1 HOCO victory


Kyle Kraemer

Freshman midfielder Hannah Hart put home a chip shot to claim the 2-1 Colonel lead in the 31st-minute of play.

EDWARDSVILLE, Pa. — The Colonels used early goals in each half to propel them past FDU-Florham on one of the biggest weekends for Wilkes Athletics in 2019.

This weekend was not just homecoming for Wilkes, but it was also the opening of the new multi-sport turf facility, Bruggeworth Field.

The Colonels did not disappoint with their debut on the field, as both Wilkes and the Devils had strong attacks in the first 12 minutes of the game. Sophomore midfielder Emily Bidelspach attempted to put Wilkes on top early on, but unfortunately her shot was just off target and hit the goal post. 

The Devils quickly responded as Brianna Cucinelli had a chance of her own, but her shot efforts were turned aside by senior goalkeeper Samantha Cecere.

Instantaneously, FDU-Florham’s Erica Martins rattled off a second shot. Yet again, Cecere turned away the flurry of shots. 

The Colonels refueled their offensive attack and Bidelspach rifled a big shot late in the 12th-minute to put Wilkes on top 1-0.  

Shortly after this point, the Devils bounced back. Erika Pita broke away from the defensive efforts of junior center back Niamh Harkins, drawing Cecere out of the goal and tying the game at one apiece. 

The Colonels came back after the Devils’ goal with an answer of their own. They rattled off three shots, but their efforts were not strong enough to overpower the strength and unity in FDU-Florham’s defense. 

Wilkes, however, remained persistent with attempts to find the back of the net. The team held offensive control for the last 20 minutes and the Colonel offensive efforts were not in vain. Late in the 30th-minute of the first half, freshman midfielder Hannah Hart chipped the ball into the goal, which gave the Colonels a 2-1 lead heading into halftime. 

To start the second half, FDU-Florham’s Nathalia Gallo attempted to get her team back into the game by taking two shots within four seconds of each other. Gallo’s first shot was blocked by a Wilkes defender and then her second shot flew above the goal. 

Three minutes later, Bidelspach broke free from the Devils’ defensive line and she shot the ball into the upper left corner of the goal, giving Wilkes a 3-1 lead. 

The Devils made several attempts to get back into the game, but their efforts were stopped by the defensive strength of the Colonels. 

Bidelspach lead Wilkes’ scoring with two goals and Hart chipped in an extra goal to put the icing on top of their win.

Despite not being in the starting lineup, Hart still made her presence known by providing a spark off the bench.

“Honestly, I saw the ball and I saw the goal,” said Hart. “I didn’t think at all to be completely honest, I just shot it and it just so happened to go in.”

Hart’s offensive effort was not only through this shot, but she also helped set up her teammates with great scoring opportunities. 

“I kind of just tried to stay composed and find the corners where the space was and it just went in,” Bidelspach said.

Bidelspach’s two goals were critical for the Colonels to get their first win on Bruggeworth Field. As a whole, the team was very excited to use the new facility.

“It’s an awesome facility, we couldn’t be more fortunate to have this. The donation from Bob (Bruggeworth) and his family in honor of his mother is something very special,” said head coach John McNichol. “Obviously, Wilkes is a super special place and to have a facility like this. It’s one of the premier facilities in the conference, if not the region. We are fortunate to have something this beautiful to play on every day.”

McNichol was not the only one excited and grateful for the new field.

“It’s very different, it took some getting used to play on it this week,” Hart said. “But it is awesome. We are happy we get to play on it.” 

McNichol was also extremely happy with the team’s efforts on the evening.

“Anytime you can start out conference play 1-0, it’s very important, FDU is a very talented school. They came in 9-1-1, and we were able to get up on them quick in the first and second half,” McNichol said. “I think that was the difference. We didn’t settle in as much as we wanted to in the second half, we executed and did what we wanted to. It’s huge to start 1-0 in conference play.” 

Wilkes is back in action when they head to Stevens on Saturday.